NEALE Daniher wants to transform Ballarat into a lively rock ‘n roll party.
The AFL great’s visit to town this week was two-fold: talking sport and raising awareness for the degenerative disease he has experienced the past three years.
Sport allows him avenues to fight for a cure to motor-neuron disease and a chance to have fun while tackling a disease he calls “The Beast”.
Mr Daniher declared Ballarat would be the final stop on this year’s car rally fundraiser Daniher’s Drive because, he quipped, he heard Ballarat was the “biggest party town in Victoria”.
He also hinted to adding a chilly touch to Ballarat – Big Freeze style – at some stage this year. Maybe.
“A big part of what we do is awareness. We can’t ask people to support our cause if they don’t know about it,” Mr Daniher said.
“Motor-neuron disease isn’t as rare as people think There’s not many people alive with MND because it’s a killer...It’s a beast of a disease and we need to find an effective treatment and cure.”
MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells controlling muscles that enable us to move, speak, swallow and breathe fail to work normally.
At least two Australians are diagnosed with MND daily and every day at least two Australians die of MND.
Mr Daniher is on a mission to find a cure and to generate support for people living with MND across the nation.
The former Essendon player and Melbourne coach was guest-speaker at Ballarat Sportsmen’s Club’s March dinner on Wednesday night, speaking football and MND. He said sport helped allow a platform for greater awareness and generated a lot of support, particularly in iconic events like Big Freeze at the G, via the Cure for MND Foundation.
“We’re overwhelmed with the support we’re getting but we need to keep going,” Mr Daniher said.
A visit to Ballarat was also a chance for Mr Daniher to say thank you to all the support he has felt from this city, and to let everyone know he and a convoy of cars will be back in mid-October for a rock ‘n rollin’ good time.